Policy Brief: Environmental Law Program to Identify Priorities for Legal Response | SDG Knowledge Center – Low Calorie Diets Tips

A global meeting of national focal points of Montevideo’s Fifth Environmental Law Program (Montevideo Program V) is addressing legal responses to today’s pressing environmental challenges. The meeting takes place just days after Stockholm+50 and aims to define priority areas for the implementation of the programme. This policy brief highlights the intergovernmental initiative’s role in supporting sustainable development, its history and achievements.

Environmental law that transforms science-based policies into action-oriented rules and standards of behavior is a foundation for environmental sustainability. Promoting the development and implementation of international environmental law is one of the key mandates of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), established after the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held June 5-16, 1972 in Stockholm, Sweden UNEP’s Governing Council (GC) – later replaced by the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) – launched a program to help organize and coordinate the agency’s environmental activities.

The Montevideo Program for Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law, renewed every decade, has informed priorities for global environmental legislation and review for four decades. It has resulted in a number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) designed under the program and negotiated under the auspices of UNEP, including the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, which aim to protect human health and the environment hazardous chemicals and waste and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Montevideo Program: forty years in action

The first Montevideo program, adopted by the UNEP GC in 1982, served as a “strategic roadmap to fulfill UNEP’s mandate to conduct activities for the conclusion of international agreements and the development of international principles, guidelines and standards”. Its five parts were: themes, goals and strategies; elements of the strategy; methods of implementation, verification and follow-up; general development of environmental law; and concrete recommendations for initial measures. Key thematic areas included: marine pollution from land-based surfaces; protection of the stratospheric ozone layer; and transportation and handling and disposal of toxic and hazardous waste. Other topics included international cooperation in environmental emergencies, coastal zone management and soil protection.

The second Montevideo programme, adopted by the UNEP GC in 1993, was inspired by Agenda 21 – the main outcome of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development. Its 18 program areas set out their respective goals, strategies and activities for the programme. These areas included: implementation of international legal instruments in the environmental field; dispute prevention and resolution; cross-border air pollution control; management of coastal areas; and international cooperation in environmental emergencies.

The Third Montevideo Program was adopted by the UNEP GC in 2001. Its 20 components were organized around three main themes: effectiveness of environmental law; Conservation and Management, which addressed freshwater resources, biodiversity, and production and consumption patterns; and the relationship with other areas, including trade, security, and military activities.

The fourth Montevideo programme, adopted by the UNEP GC in 2009, comprised 27 program strands, each consisting of a goal, a strategy and a set of actions. These program areas have been organized into four clusters: effectiveness of environmental law; Conservation, management and sustainable use of natural resources, including fresh and marine water, living aquatic resources, forests, biodiversity and sustainable patterns of production and consumption; environmental law challenges such as climate change, poverty, pollution prevention and control, and new technologies; and the relationship with other areas, including human rights.

The fifth Montevideo program was adopted by UNEA in March 2019. The Montevideo Program V, which runs from January 2020 to December 2029, will be implemented “in a manner fully consistent with relevant UNEP medium-term strategies.” UNEP’s medium-term strategy for 2018-2021 has identified seven priority areas of focus: climate change; disaster and conflict resilience; healthy and productive ecosystems; environmental governance; chemicals, waste and air quality; resource efficiency; and check the environment. UNEP’s medium-term strategy for 2022-2025 focuses on developing responses and deploying solutions to achieve three interrelated strategic goals: climate resilience, while achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and resilience to climate change to be reached; live in harmony with nature; and towards a pollution-free planet where pollution is prevented and controlled, while ensuring good environmental quality and improved health and well-being for all.

Montevideo Program V: Objectives and Strategies

The Fifth Montevideo Environmental Law Program aims to:

  • supporting the development of adequate and effective environmental legislation and legal frameworks at all levels to address environmental issues;
  • strengthening effective implementation of environmental legislation at national level;
  • supporting improved capacity building for increased effectiveness of environmental law for all stakeholders at all levels;
  • Supporting governments in developing and implementing environmental rule of law; and
  • Promoting the role of environmental law in the context of effective environmental policy.

UNEP works with national focal points and an implementation steering committee in partnership with UN agencies, intergovernmental organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs), the private sector and academia on the following strategic activities under the programme:

  • Provide countries with practical guidance, tools, innovative approaches and resources, including effective legal models and approaches, as well as best practices and model indicators;
  • Development and promotion of information and data exchange between legal actors;
  • promoting public participation, access to information and access to justice in environmental matters;
  • promoting recognition of the mutually reinforcing relationship between environmental law and the three pillars of the UN Charter;
  • support collaboration and partnerships;
  • promoting and facilitating environmental law education;
  • support awareness-raising initiatives on environmental law at different levels;
  • promoting research on emerging environmental issues and the relationship between environmental law and related legal fields; and
  • Promotion of education in the field of environmental law.

National Focal Points provide orientation for the program

Following the online segment of the first Montevideo Program V Global Meeting of National Focal Points, which took place on June 2-4, 2021, the second segment will take place on June 6-9, 2022 at the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya , instead of. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will take place in a hybrid format, with virtual attendance open to those unable to attend in person.

After adopting “Legal Measures to Address the Air Pollution Crisis” as the first priority area for the implementation of the program in the first section of the meeting, the national priorities will be the deliberations on the main precautions and strategic guidelines for the Montevideo Program V, including the entire sentence , continue Priority areas for implementation and guiding principles for the promotion of partnerships under the programme.

The meeting papers can be found on the Law and Environment Assistance Platform (LEAP), which launched on the virtual segment in June. read here Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Reporting on the resumed First Global Meeting of National Focal Points for the Fifth Montevideo Programme.

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